Summer Smiles Honey Farm

  (Stoystown, Pennsylvania)
Reap what you sow...
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Second CSA Honey Harvest

Yesterday I extracted and bottled another crop from your CSA hives.  
You will be receiving a 1 1/2 pound jar this time around. 

I'm so excited that I was able to do a second harvest!  
Its that time of year that I need to do a major inspection 
of all of the hives.  I won't know for sure, but hopefully I'll be
able to assess if we will be getting a fall harvest.  Hopefully so, as
now that the hay is off the fields, I plan to have a neighbor plow 
tonight, to prepare for planting the buckwheat.  We shall see! 


End of June Update

It has certainly been a while since my last update.  I apologize for the delay!  Things have been going very, very busy, and very, very well at the Summer Smiles Honey Farm! 

My plan B from the April blog was in order to take care of my CSA members, I needed to replace the stock of honey bees that I lost over the winter.  That was a major priority.  Early on in May, I purchased 10 full hives, that are survivor stock from the local area, from a beekeeper that was getting out of the business.  With out my very special hive sponsors, I could not have acquired those hives.  I still cannot thank them enough!!!  

The goal in April was to pray for steady warm weather so the apple and locust blossoms would not see frost and to set up the new hives at the farm by the May.  The apple and pear blossoms were amazing and I have never seen locust blooms, like I saw this year!!  I couldn't have asked for a better spring for the honey bees!

I was also pushing for a spring honey harvest, something I have never done in my six years of beekeeping.  I did it!  Just last week I the pulled light and delicate spring harvest off of the hives!  All CSA members received a 2 1/2 pound jar of the light golden raw honey! 

Thank you so much to everyone who purchased a share.  I found extreme delight extracting, bottling, and labeling that honey, thinking about each one of you that took a chance on me.  Many of you don't even really know me, and the support you have shown me is just truly sweet!  Thank you! :)

Looking back now, reading the last blog, I am so grateful for all that has happened and all we were able to do!  "Thank you, Lord!" is all I can say.  

The 5 nucs (nucleus coloy, 1/4 of a hive) that I ordered this past winter, were delivered very late.  I got them set up 2 weeks ago.  It is time for me to do an inspection.  Hopefully I will find that all is well and the nucs have eggs and a laying queen.  

The fields were I seed that special clover seed mix, are buzzing!  If you have not seen crimson clover, it is just stunning!

As for the CSA honey, I am hoping to harvest more with in the next few weeks.  There were several boxes of honey that were not able to be harvested with the initial batch, it just wasn't ready.  If its meant to be, I'll be harvesting that honey soon!  Until next time!


2014 Honey CSA April Update

When I began spreading the word about my honey CSA program this past January, I envisioned for the month of April, my 14 beehives to be buzzing and boiling over with honey bees.  The sad reality is that just 2 of the 14 hives survived the winter.  Why, you ask?  A few of the queens failed, in others the cluster couldn't break because of the 20 below temperature to move to more honey for energy.  The rest of the hives suffered a loss due to a malfunction with an emergency feed.  The "candy board," which is to be solid, ended up melting on the bees and destroying any hope of them seeing the month of April.  Their death is something that I caused, which upsets me deeply!  A tough learning curve to be on, but it taught me an unforgettable lesson.  

Now its time to reconfigure the use of the extremely valuable CSA money.  The original plan was to purchase the equipment, seed, and supplies needed to convert my 33-acre farm into a honey bee paradise!  I researched a special clover seed mix, tailored specifically for honey bees, figured exactly how much I would need to sow 10-15 acres, I had 5-acres of sunflowers in the mix, as well as 3-acres of wildflowers.  Wildflower seed, believe it or not, is super pricey!  It costs over $300 to plant just one acre. 

So plan B is now to replace the stock of honey bees that I lost and take care of my CSA members.  That is a priority.  Within the week, I plan on purchasing up to 10 full hives, that are survivor stock from the local area, from a beekeeper that is getting out of the business.  Due to the fact that the hives are costing way more than the total CSA money totals, I have a few special individual that are helping to off set the cost, which is very humbling.  I cannot thank them enough!!!  I also ordered 5 nucs (nucleus coloy), which are just a 1/4 of a hiive, compared to the full hives I am getting off of my local friend.  I was able to order that special clover seed mix, but reduced down to 8 acres.  I frost sowed the seed back in late February by hand.  I already noticed it sprouting!

The goal now is to pray for steady warm weather so the apple and locust blossoms will not see frost and to move the full hives to farm by the end of next week, if not sooner.  I am pushing for a spring honey harvest, something I have never done.  We will soon see what His plan is.



2014 CSA Honey

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, directly connects the farmer with the people who eat the food that the farmer produces. It provides the missing link that exists between the grocery store and the consumer. You cut out many miles that your produce endures along with fewer handlers of your food.

Using the same CSA structure that local farms utilize, I will be making a limited number of Honey Shares available to folks in the neighborhood that are able to pick them up during the honey harvest season. Shareholders will also be able to follow the hives progress on a blog. There will also be opportunities for hands on learning about bees and honey harvesting.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

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